Serie A Weekend Roundup: Inter piles pressure with 2-0 victory, Milan drops points￼
The race for the Serie A title saw an interesting twist take place this week with the leaders Milan dropping points to Torino. Inter are just two points behind them after the victory over Verona and have a game in hand. Meanwhile, Napoli missed a golden opportunity to go atop the table after losing 2-3 to Fiorentina.
Empoli 0-0 Spezia
Empoli got a glorious chance to take the lead in the first half but Andrea Pinamonti’s shot from close range was booted out by the rival goalkeeper Ivan Provedel. Kevin Agudelo went past a couple of challenges to unleash a shot but Empoli custodian Guglielmo Vicario made himself big in the near post to keep it out.
Provedel was up to the task once again when he dived full strength to deny Pinamonti at the near post. The scoreline read 0-0 at full-time in the lower mid-table clash as both sides found themselves comfortably ahead of the relegation pack.
Inter 2-0 Verona
Inter had to wait only till the 22nd minute to score the opening goal when Nicolo Barella made a run from the blindside to tap the ball home after Ivan Perisic galloped down the left flank and lobbed the ball towards the other half.
Perisic was once again amidst the thick of the action in the 30th minute when he glanced Federico Dimarco’s corner-kick from the first post towards Edin Dzeko at the far end for a simple tap-in.
Cagliari 1-2 Juventus
Cagliari’s captain Juan Pedro drew first blood in the 10th minute after curling the ball into the top corner as the opposition defenders found themselves guilty of not closing him down inside the box. Just as Cagliari thought they would go into the break with an unlikely lead, Juan Cuadrado dribbled past a couple of defenders and lobbed the ball towards the other end, where Matthijs de Ligt sneaked in his header into the bottom left corner.
Having been denied multiple times in the game before, Paulo Dybala sent Dusan Vlahovic through on goal in the 75th minute, where the latter sprinted past his marker and rolled the ball into the back of the net from close range. Juventus completed a much-needed comeback to win the contest 2-1 and strengthened their grip in the fourth position.
Genoa 1-4 Lazio
Adam Marusic began a darting solo run from the halfway mark and curled a grounding shot past the extended reach of the rival goalkeeper to hand Lazio a lead in the 31st minute. Lazio doubled their advantage at the stroke of half-time after right-back Manuel Lazzari overlapped successfully and found Ciro Immobile at the edge of the box, who made no mistake in bulging the net.
Immobile slipped past the two opposing central defenders to meet Luis Alberto’s lobbed through pass and headed the ball into an open net in the 63rd minute to score Lazio’s third goal. Genoa’s Nadiem Amiri tiptoed past three rival defenders inside the box before unleashing a cross, where Patric’s wicket deflection resulted in an own goal.
However, Immobile dashed any hopes of a Genoa comeback by completing his hat-trick in the 76th minute after firing the ball into the far post. Lazio remains two points behind fifth-placed Roma after the 4-1 win.
Napoli 2-3 Fiorentina
Fiorentina beat Napoli 3-2 in a goal fest as the latter stumbled in their quest to claim the top spot. The former struck first after Nicolas Gonzalez chested the ball near the penalty mark and booted the ball into the roof of the net in the 29th minute.
Victor Osimhen made a scorching run on the left flank before passing the ball behind to Dries Mertens, who made no mistake to equalise for Napoli. Jonathan Ikone trapped Nicolas Ivan Gonzalez’s cross with his first touch and thundered the ball past the goal-line to restore Fiorentina’s lead in the 66th minute.
Arthur Cabral extended it six minutes later after curling an outswinger into the far post from inside the box. Sensing the opposing ‘keeper coming forward, Osimhen made the most of it to elevate the ball past his reach and score a goal for Napoli with just six minutes of regulation time left. However, it turned out to be a mere consolation.
Sassuolo 2-1 Atalanta
Atalanta lost their second consecutive Serie A match for the first time since October 2020 after succumbing to a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Sassuolo. Hamed Traore put the noses of the home side up front in the 24th minute after his shot ricocheted off the inside half of the crossbar and crossed the goal-line in a counter-attacking move.
Sassuolo kept on knocking on the doors of Atalanta’s goal and finally breached their defence when Traore wrong-footed a defender and whizzed his shot into the bottom corner in the 61st minute. Just when Sassuolo thought they would finish the game with a clean sheet, Luis Muriel capitalised on a failed clearance and nestled the ball into the back of the net at the dying embers of the game.
Venezia 1-2 Udinese
Venezia’s ambitions to come out of the bottom three suffered a major blow when Udinese beat them 2-1 courtesy of Rodrigo Becao’s injury-time strike in the second half. Gerard Deulofeu sent the ‘keeper the wrong way and smashed the ball into the bottom corner from a penalty to give Udinese the lead in the 35th minute.
Thomas Henry equalised for Venezia in the 86th minute after taking advantage of a mistimed clearance in the penalty box. However, Becaos’ flicked header off a corner-kick ensured that Venezia returned empty-handed from their home fixture.
Roma 2-1 Salernitana
After being behind for the majority of the contest, Roma struck twice in the final ten minutes of the game to beat Salernitana 2-1 in the home fixture. Ivan Radovanovic stunned Roma’s keeper with a rasping shot in the 22nd minute to give Salernitana the lead.
Super-sub Carlos Perez found himself at the end of a through pass from Henrikh Mkhitaryan and curled the ball into the back of the net to restore parity for his side. Chris Smalling dealt the final blow in the 85th minute when the lanky central defender tapped in a cross from Jordan Veretout to seal three points for Roma.
Torino 0-0 Milan
Missing Zlatan Ibrahamivoc upfront, Milan was able to muster only three shots on target in the game and were unable to find the back of the net. The case was no different for Torino, who too failed to trouble the scorers, as the two sides played out a 0-0 draw.